The U.S. Senate voted to kill oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) today, breaking the little hearts of both the Republican Party and our own pro-oil Democratic Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye. What a shame. And it looked like such a winner, too, what with powerful pro-drilling Senator Ted Stevens (R, Alaska) taking the lowest of the lowest roads by tacking the ANWR legislation onto a defense bill funding our troops overseas. Yet the Democrats (our boys excepted) didn’t flinch, and fought it anyways.
THURSDAY, Dec. 22
Got an email today notifying me that my repeated mentions in LC Watch of the name of defense attorney Dave Jorgensen’s law firm have been wrong. The real and true name of the firm is Ing, Horikawa, Jorgensen and Stewart. Normally I’d put a correction like this over on the Letters to the Editor page, but this week that space is reserved for a special year-in-review thing, which you should really check out because I really worked hard on it.
FRIDAY, Dec. 23
So the Honolulu Star-Bulletin tells us today that the recent emergency heart surgery for Don Ho, 75, has really taught the Waikiki musical legend that he’s getting old. What tipped him off? Twelve “episodes” last month that set his pacemaker off? Yeah, 12. One happened onstage in Waikiki. “I just slumped over,” Ho told the Star-Bulletin. “They had to drag me off the stage. That sorta tells me something is really wrong.” But according to the paper, that wasn’t the one that “sealed the deal.” No, Ho didn’t opt for surgery until he had an attack while doing home improvement. “I had climbed up on my roof to do some repairs, and all of a sudden my heart just took off and I wanted to slow it down but I couldn’t,” he said. Let’s ponder this a moment. Not long after his heart goes haywire in the middle of a show, Ho—who knew his heart was working at “30 percent”—climbs up onto his roof to work. Man, cardio surgeons have it made! That’s the wave of the future, right there. See, Ho’s renovated ticker wasn’t cheap: a recent Time story on the TheraVitae medical company that saved Ho reported that the procedure costs $30,000—and it’s not even approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration! According to Time, treating heart disease is a $54 billion-a-year business. Fifty-four billion! Every year! Here’s the ticket: invest all your dough in the medical industry and fast food—you can’t lose!
SATURDAY, Dec. 24
The 29th Brigade Combat Team of the Hawai’i National Guard is headed home from a year’s tour in Iraq. Or rather, they’re headed to “one of six demobilization centers,” according to today’s Honolulu Advertiser. After a year spent tooling around central Iraq, those “centers” must seem like magical places to the soldiers. Anyway, the article gives a pretty thorough accounting of what the brigade has been doing with itself over there: 16 soldiers killed, 83 wounded, 66 Iraqi “detainees,” 650 artillery rounds and rockets found, 127,725 “local nationals” trying to enter Camp Victory screened and so forth. Needless to say, people are mighty proud. “You have not only honorably and courageously served the United States,” Governor Linda Lingle is quoted as saying in the article, “but you have also made history and touched lives.” Is that what they were sent over there to do? Make history? Touch lives? See, I don’t exactly remember the war starting for those specific reasons. Rather, I remember back in early 2003 that people like President George W. Bush were saying we had to invade and conquer Iraq immediately or else Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was going to unleash a “mushroom cloud” on us—you know, nuke us with those “manned and unmanned aircraft” he was hording, or poison us with all of his “mobile bioweapons labs.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure the whole make history and touch lives stuff came later—after we found out all Bush’s imminent threat stuff was just bullshit. But hey, it’s totally cool that our boys and girls are coming home.
SUNDAY, Dec. 25
We’re encouraging too many rubes and tourists to visit Hawai’i. That’s the stunning verdict of George Ariyoshi’s latest column in the December, 2005 issue of Hawai’i Business. “If you go to an industry event today, as I did in my tenure as chairman of Prince Hotels, the subject often turns to creating more attractions for visitors,” Ariyoshi wrote. “To my mind such thinking will lead to a busy, honky-tonk environment that is the opposite of what people really seek in Hawai’i: a well-cared-for, peaceful place with great natural charms.” It’s a far-reaching but highly astute observation: people come to Hawai’i to see paradise, but the more you cater to those people coming here the less Hawai’i looks like paradise. I just have one question: what have you done with the real George Ariyoshi?! Did pods from space come down and take over his body? We’re talking George Ariyoshi here—the same Ariyoshi who, as state governor from 1973 to 1986, never met a resort developer he didn’t like. And this is the same Ariyoshi who, after leaving the state house, went to work for Prince Hotels, one of the state’s premier resorts. That was apparently all fine and dandy for the last 30 years, but now Ariyoshi says we need to think harder about the “kind of visitors” we want to bring. He’s for shipping over more rich people, since people with no money tend to be bad for business: “I submit that a slower growth rate,” he wrote, “will help us attract visitors who spend more, while a higher rate will tend to drive away the affluent visitor.”
MONDAY, Dec. 26
TUESDAY, Dec. 27
Can you tell Congress is on vacation? I can. I feel safer and more secure. The only thing that would make us safer is if President Bush would take another six-week vacation in Crawford, Texas. And then just stay there for the rest of his life.
Anthony Pignataro once got rejected for eHarmony.com membership because his standards were too high. MTW